We have just come back from the ferry as we were told at the Detention Camp on Friday that it was likely that the survivors would be travelling to Athens today (Sunday). They were indeed at the port and for the first time we managed to talk with some of them on the ferry. It takes just over an hour for the ferry to go from Vathi to Karlovassi and this is the time we had with them. It was a very distressing experience for us to meet the survivors many of whom were clearly in deep shock. It was also awful that in order to get on the ferry you had to pass within 50 metres of the boat in which most of the people lost their lives. It is simply lying on the dock with a bit of tape round it. Why did they have to confront this? Why hasn't the boat been either moved or covered? The survivors we met were from Syria and Somalia. The Syrians seemed to have experienced the greatest trauma in terms of loss of life. The young guy who lost his mother and sister (who was 7 months pregnant) was very upset and angry. He didn't want us to talk with him nor the group sitting with him. He said there was no help to be had; nobody helps them. It was hard to listen to his despair, although completely understandable. We did talk to a Syrian man in his early 20s from near Aleppo who spoke English and he was telling us how awful it was in Syria. Just horrifying. He asked how could they be forced to travel in this way when they were only trying to get away from a terrifying war. In terms of the tragedy he said the fibre glass motor launch (not a yacht in that it has no mast or sails) faced big waves which flooded the boat and it was 2 big waves one after another which turned them over. There was a second smaller boat with them and we couldn't work out what happened to that except that it sunk. The guy and his friend who were driving the boat were both arrested. They didn't escape as some have suggested. What really shocked us was that the survivors were in the sea for 3 hours before they were rescued. Given how near they were to the land and the fact that the police/army/frontex always seem to be around on this part of Samos (using thermal cameras) looking for refugee boats coming over at night it seems strange that help took so long to arrive. Then there is the matter of the cruise ship which was first on the scene. The young Syrian talked of being very cold and some got hypothermia and could recall little of what happened. He on the other hand could remember he said, every minute. The cruise boat – he described it as a big white tourist ship was circling them. It was the first on the scene. He said they were shouting for help and some swam to the ship but there were no ropes or ladders. The cruise boat did not lower any life boats to rescue people. This is shocking. So they were in the water until the 'police' boats arrived and pulled them out. He said they watched people die during this time. This at the very least suggests there are some serious questions to be asked of the cruise boat. But we didn't talk more as they were too upset and angry. The group of 5 Somalian men had not lost any of their friends and relatives and were more open to talk. It was they who told us the men in charge were arrested and also said they were not very competent in handling the boat. We wondered in fact whether the drivers of the boat were also refugees who were offered a free ride on the grounds that they could drive a boat. But this is speculation. What is not speculation is that they each paid $ (US) 1,000 to make the journey. Nobody said much about the camp or how they were treated. The survivors are really in shock but we are not sure that they will get much more help now they are out of the camp. None of them wanted to stay in Greece and all said they would be looking to move on as soon as possible. Apparently, the survivors were told not to speak to anyone. We suspect that this normal practice in these circumstances. We are especially concerned about the well being of the Syrian survivors. We can't stress too highly that their release from the camp does not mean that they are going to be in a better place. Athens for many refugees is a cruel place where without adequate resources they are forced to live on the very margins and are highly vulnerable to many forms of exploitation.